Add Daniele De Rossi to your MLS wish lists

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For the second year in a row (and, the second coach in a row), AS Roma icon Daniele de Rossi is having trouble fitting into his club’s new scheme. Despite a new five-year contract signed last season, those troubles have led to renewed transfer speculation, with the 29-year-old even throwing out a tease to Major League Soccer fans.

“I hope someday [to maybe play] in the U.S.A.,” de Rossi recently confessed to the New York Times. “I’ve spoken a long time with Michael [Bradley] about it. I would love to come to the U.S. to play.”

Last year under Luis Enrique, the former midfield cornerstone was shuffled between a Sergio Busquets role and central defense in the former Barcelona coach’s system. This season, under new boss Zdenek Zemen, de Rossi’s started only eight of 18 Serie A matches.

The selection issues leave the assumed future captain of Roma with a dilemma. The Rome-born icon has a fierce loyalty to the club, but having gone through last year’s ordeal (one which included the added complexity of a contract negotiation), de Rossi has likely envisioned scenarios where he have to leave the Giallorossi. Now one of those scenarios may be coming to fruition, with acquisitions like that of Michael Bradley’s putting de Rossi’s selection in doubt.

For his part, de Rossi seems focused on his Roma future. “I never tried, or really wanted, to play outside for another team,” he said, optimistically predicting, “I’m sure I will soon have more time on the field.”

When asked about rumors of a potential move, specifically to Manchester City (a long rumored link), de Rossi’s coy. He initially denies hearing them before relenting: “Well, O.K. I’ve heard this rumor. I’m sure my future will be a good experience no matter where I play.”

Among his possible destinations, the U.S. is the first place he mentions. He learned English at a young age, and with a residence in England (where he spends time with his English/American girlfriend), cultural adaptation wouldn’t be an issue.

But as he notes, De Rossi is still young. He’s 29, still able to playing at the highest levels, and (as important for his immediate MLS future) still capable of making huge sums at a place like Manchester City. He has his Italy career to consider, too.

De Rossi seems one contract away from playing in MLS, but if he comes, he’d be another jewel for the league. A rugged but skilled defender, de Rossi would have no trouble adapting to the physicality of North American soccer. With both playmaking and goal scoring skills that are better than almost every MLS midfielder, even an older de Rossi should be able to put up some numbers.

But check back in 2016. For now, de Rossi’s future seems to be at Roma. Probably.

Inter Milan back in the Champions League after late heroics (video)

Giuseppe Lami/ANSA via AP
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It’s been more than a half-decade since Inter Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League, an infamous run that ended on Sunday.

Inter scored twice in the final 13 minutes to beat fifth-place Lazio and advance into the Top Four via head-to-head record.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

Lazio held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but could not get the job done at home, collecting red cards in the 79th minute and stoppage time.

Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored his third goal of the season, redirecting a corner kick home in the 81st minute, as Inter clinched fourth place in Serie A.

Matic: Man Utd needs more experience in its squad

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Nemanja Matic would like to see a bit more veteran bravery in his Manchester United side.

The title-winning 29-year-old midfielder finished second in the Premier League this season, his first with the Red Devils after a strong run with Chelsea.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Blues beat United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, and Matic says the answer to winning hardware isn’t in talent as much as it is wisdom.

From the BBC:

“The only team who is better than us this year is Man City,” said Matic. “Obviously, they play amazing football. But we are second and we are in the Champions League next year, which is the most important thing. I think we need some players with some experience to bring some more qualities to our team.”

United loses one veteran cog in Michael Carrick, and both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney have skipped town in the last year.

Who could fit the bill in terms of old hats in current United positions of weakness? Well, a full offseason for Alexis Sanchez will help, and perhaps the rumors of Toby Alderweireld make the most sense of any we’ve seen in recent weeks.

MLS Things: Shuttleworth, Quintero somehow get Loons a point vs. SKC

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Entering the day, no one was arguing that hosts Minnesota United were a better side than Sporting KC.

The Loons were 11 points and 19 goals worth of differential behind Western Conference-leading KC.

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

They still are, despite a 1-1 Sunday match which carried a fitting disparity on the pitch but nothing to separate the two on the scoreboard.

Khiry gets his just desserts

Oregon State product Khiry Shelton has been wonderful for Sporting KC this season, but the striker just hasn’t found the back of the goal.

That finally changed Sunday, when his downbound header got the better of Bobby Shuttleworth — more on him later — and allowed him a richly-deserved first SKC goal which could well break down the dam.

The eighth minute saw Shelton score his goal on one of just six Loons shot attempts.

Shuttleworth back in business

It’s not always sexy to go to the veteran backstop, but it looks like Adrian Heath should’ve called Bobby Shuttleworth’s name a long time ago.

Entering the day, Shuttleworth had the second-best WhoScored.com rating of any goalkeeper to appear in more than five matches (Evan Bush).

While certainly part of that has to do with the defensive actions foisted upon him, Shuttleworth was the main reason SKC’s 24-6 advantage in attempts failed to turn into anything other than a point.

Darwin

Darwin Quintero has had more good matches than bad ones since joining the Loons, and added his third goal in seven matches with this rebound finish on Sunday.

Quintero had two goals and four assists in 17 Liga MX matches, but has been perfectly revitalized by the Minnesota air.

VIDEO: Coutinho scores brilliant curler; Iniesta walks off

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It’s often funny to read the A. in front of Andres Iniesta’s surname on his match jersey, as if there’s any other.

On Sunday, the 34-year-old midfielder walked off the field for the last time (video at bottom) as a Barcelona player, handing the captain’s arm band to Lionel Messi and beginning a new era for both the club and player.

[ MORE: Bayern salutes Heynckes (again) ]

Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Sunday in the final La Liga match of the season.

While the match will be remembered as Iniesta’s last with Blaugranas, Philippe Coutinho gave a glimpse of the future with his eighth goal of the season and sixth in his last five games.

Barca finishes a 1-loss season with 99 goals and a 14-point lead over La Liga runners-up Atletico Madrid.